Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Really Great Mentors

I would like to be a really great mentor so I was attracted to Stephen Kohn and Vincent O'Connell's book:  9 Practices of really Great Mentors - How to Inspire and Motivate Anyone.

The book  is a self-actualizing and highly motivational read that portrays the many facets that mentors hold.

Starting off with more than one definition of what a mentor is, this book is incredibly inspiring and practical making it the fitting last book of a three part series by Stephen E. Kohn and Vincent D. O'Connell.

All of the key ideas discussed are applicable in developing a person’s full potential in life to help optimize an organization’s assets and to benefit from their own day to day life.

The use of the terminology ‘stretch goals’ clearly defines the role that a mentor plays in helping the protégé identify the process in hopes to accomplish their goals given that stretch goals are not reached immediately, but framed from a longer-term perspective.

Including a chapter explaining the difference between coaching versus mentoring someone was a nice touch as often times these two terms get muddled in the mentoring role.

9 Powerful Practices of Really Great Mentors displays positive and motivational messages that encourage the growth of the relationship between mentor and protégé. The relationship that develops between two individuals is mind-enriching and possesses the responsibility that both sides have to uphold in order for the relationship can grow. 

The mention of EQ (emotional quotient) having to be either near or at the same level as IQ (intelligent quotient) in chapter 6 acknowledges that there are other ways to measure intelligence and that not just one form of intelligence can define the human mind.

What was a bit disconcerting was stating that, “certain people might be at some sort of disadvantage within the organization or professional environment,” in chapter 3 followed with the confirmation that women are seen in this regard.

With many things in life, it is best to draft out your goals and strategy before putting your plans into actions. 9 Powerful Practices of Really Great Mentors is a great resource to use as a guide and inspiration in becoming the best mentor for your next protégé.

Quotes from the book:

"...the better you are at the mentoring role, the more likely your protégé will benefit from the relationship."

The moment of self-actualization for me is when I read, "...what I am aware of empowers me, and what I am unaware of controls me..."

A mentor's mantra should be, "seek first to understand, than to be understood. It is listening that is crucial along with fully understanding what is going on with your protégé- giving sound advice with context." 

Keep your eyes on the stars, but keep your feet on the ground – Theodore Roosevelt. 

There is an interesting article in HBR on the reasons not to send emails after work hours.  Interesting points.  It conflicts with my efficiency slightly.  I like to get things off my plate.

And cactus from my recent trip to Palm Springs where the weather is perfect.  The citrus fruit is unbelievable.  And the people are nice (like everywhere else)

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Sales See Saw

We are new (since Dec 1/2014) in our new business - DDE Media.   We have almost 10 full time writers working at our office now (plus the bookkeeper, Graphics Designer, etc).  So the office has a bit of life.

I now am suffering for a start-up syndrome I have seen play out often.  I am really the only person who sells for us right now.  But I do some of the work (especially around SEO) and much of the orchestration.  So I am the limiting factor - the funnel point that limits growth.

What happens is one month, we close sales but the next we are scrambling to deliver on that work so we sell little.  And the sales see saw kicks in - high one month, low the next.

No genius solution - just an observation.

Speaking of sales, I read an interesting book this weekend - Selling Above and Below the Line - Convince the C Suite, Win Over Management - Close the Sale by Skip Miller.

I always love any book on sales.  I can always learn something or be inspired more.    The goal is always to sell more, bigger and faster.

The problem Selling above and Below tries to solve is many times what appeals to the managers - the features and benefits do not make the sales to the CEO.  So it talks about the dual selling strategy.  I know when I was CEO of SYNNEX, I would often get the wrong pitch.  A pitch that was not in line with the overall corporate goals but one that was more feature oriented.

I liked chapter 16 that talked about accelerating the sale.  I know this is a challenge.  I have lots of sales that are 90% likely to happen but payroll that needs making now.

I particularly like any sales book that gives me ideas on increasing sales efficiency.  This is a lot about what sales tricks are all about.

Good sales people get rejected 80 or 90% of the time.  A good inspirational sales book helps pump them up to go out and sell another day.

I notice in my own selling of SEO work that I have a very strong lead up to the sale.  Everyone wants to speak to me.  Everyone likes the reports we do.  Everyone loves the presentation.  But then, many of them stop and do not follow through with the order.  So I need to figure out what that is all about.  I am thinking my benefits sell to the CEO but the managers see that it will create work for them so they balk.

I am still grieving the loss of my father.  Part of the cycle of life though opens up space for all the young ones coming into the world which I am grateful for.

Youngest to oldest grandkids - Elizabeth (the one who likes to sleep), Xavier (who also likes to sleep), Victoria and Josh.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

And then there were 4 (Grandkids that is)

I am not really a graphics designer.  I certainly have no training in the field.  So I suspect I break most design rules.

That is why Creative Anarchy - How to Break the Rules of Creative Design for Creative Success appealed to me.

This summary is from one of my writers at DDE.

Denise Bosler’s “Creative Anarchy" is a helpful and engaging read on modern graphic design. 

The text is cleverly divided into Bosler’s two fundamental principles of the subject: learning the rules and breaking the rules. Bosler is adamant that graphic designers need to be both rigorously unique and business savvy to achieve success within the evolving industry. 

“Creative Anarchy” is wonderfully colourful and beautiful composed; any person need simply flip through the many pages of high-resolution imagery to appreciate the ever-increasing artistic value of the medium. Plenty of historically successful design projects are scattered throughout the text, with Bosler explaining the commonalities between them that up-and-coming graphic designers should find extremely helpful in furthering their own careers.

 Perhaps the only gripe that I have with the text is that it might not be very accessible to readers unfamiliar with the concept of graphic design, although the fantastic imagery throughout the book should keep them entertained regardless. 

For those interested in pursuing a career in the field, however, “Creative Anarchy” is definitely a must-read.


There is an interesting article on companies co-founding startups.  This makes logical sense to me.  Starting a company with a company as a co-founder would bring competitive advantage.


One of my investments - Renomi.com has a new website.  They do change order management for construction projects.  You mean people make changes after they start their projects?


Warren Buffet claims to eat like a 6 year old after studying the mortality rates and finding theirs are low.  Lots of Coke and candy.

Wondering if he perhaps has a conflict of interest with his investment in Coke and See's Candy.


My step daughter, Jennifer and her husband Mario had a baby girl on the weekend.

Seems babies are popping up everywhere.